Smart Data Foundry appoints new CEO

Dame Julia Unwin Chair of Smart Data Foundry

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THE Edinburgh organisation with a mission to open finance for good, Smart Data Foundry, has announced the appointment of a new CEO, Frank Gauld, following a 6-month international recruitment search. 

Bringing a wealth of global Financial Services and FinTech experience, Frank will drive the strategic direction of the organisation tasked with spearheading safe data sharing in order to tackle societal, economic, and environmental challenges. 

Frank’s engagement comes on the back of another key appointment, Dame Julia Unwin, as Chair and the recent major rebrand to Smart Data Foundry to better reflect the organisation’s purpose.
Frank, originally a University of Edinburgh graduate, has held a number of senior roles within NCR – the most recent leading the development of the company’s digital cloud banking platform from its base in Atlanta.  Before moving to NCR in America in 2017, he held high-profile roles at Clydesdale and Yorkshire Bank as CIO for Change and IT Development. Frank will relocate back to Scotland on April 6th to take up the key position.

His appointment coincides with the recent publication of the FinTech Scotland 10-year Research and Innovation roadmap that sets out the agenda for change to deliver against the recommendations from the Kalifa Review.

Commenting on his new role, Frank said: “This role provides the opportunity to improve people’s lives through the application of technology, innovation and financial services – this ambition leverages my experience with a wonderful mission which is why I was attracted to the position.  I look forward to driving systemic change to how consumer data can be more widely shared to help solve some of society’s greatest challenges.”

Dame Julia Unwin added: “Frank is a natural fit for Smart Data Foundry, bringing many years of global technology and financial services experience to the role, coupled with a passion for data-led innovation.  Frank’s experience will help develop the already strong multi-disciplinary skillset within the existing team.”

Frank will replace the current interim CEO, Kevin Collins, who has successfully handled the start-up phase of Smart Data Foundry.   Kevin will resume his position as Assistant Principal at the University of Edinburgh following Frank’s appointment.


Kevin Collins added:

“I’m delighted to welcome Frank, knowing that the organisation will flourish under his leadership and benefit enormously from his many years’ experience within the financial services sector.  The timing is perfect, following the publication in March of the FinTech Scotland 10-year Research and Innovation roadmap that sets out the agenda for change to deliver against the recommendations from the Kalifa Review.”

“In its first 18-months, Smart Data Foundry has made tremendous progress against our ambition of unlocking the power of financial data as a force to improve people’s lives.  The agreements in place with NatWest Group, Sage Group, Equifax UK, FreeAgent, Nest Insight and Moneyhub are only the start of the journey to work with other organisations to build momentum and start a movement that supports our ambitious mission led approach to drive research and innovation for the benefit of consumers, communities, businesses, and individuals.”


Professor Jonathan Seckl, Senior Vice-principal of the University of Edinburgh, also added:

“Using real financial data for social good – and allowing governments, companies, and people to make better economic and financial decisions – is at the heart of Smart Data Foundry’s purpose. I’m looking forward to welcoming Frank to the team as we continue to make progress and challenge the status quo for sharing data to open finance for good.”

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